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Summary: Age and Culture

Age and Culture


  • Levels of cultural attendance were generally higher among the younger age groups, although there were differences in the cultural activities attended by younger and older age groups. For those aged 16-44, visits to the cinema and live music were generally higher than for other age groups. Those aged 45+ attended more classical music concerts than younger age groups.  Cinema was the most popular cultural event to attend for all age groups under the age of 60. Overall, the 2016 results show that around 8 out of 10 people of all age groups attended a cultural event or visited a place of culture.
  • SHS figures show that cultural attendance at specific events or places varies by age for particular events or places. For example, around 86% of adults aged 16-24 said they had been to the cinema in the past year compared to only 19% of those aged 75 and over. However, visits to classical music events (including the opera) was highest in adults aged 45 and over.


  • Across all age groups, reading for pleasure was the most popular cultural activity. The proportion of those reading for pleasure increased with age. When reading is excluded, the overall participation rate fell as age group increases. For example, the 2016 results show that around 66% of adults aged 16-24 participated in a cultural activity, excluding reading. This compares to 38% of adults aged 75 and over.

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2016: Culture and Heritage (Last updated: September 2017)


Useful Links

Age page

Culture page

National Performance Framework

National Performance Framework

Fifty National Indicators enable progress towards the achievement of the National Outcomes and ultimately the delivery of the Purpose to be tracked.

Indicators are chosen to show how the Scottish Government are progressing on the range of Outcomes. Equality breakdowns illustrate how protected groups are progressing towards achievement of the National Outcomes, particularly ‘we have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society’.

National Indicator number 39: Widen use of the internet, data tables

National Indicator number 41: Increase cultural engagement, data tables

- progress against these National Indicators, broken down by Age, can be found under the 'What more do we know about the National indicator?' heading.

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

Scottish Household Survey 2016 (September 2017) This report presents reliable and up-to-date information on the composition, characteristics and behaviour of Scottish households, both nationally and at a sub-national level. This includes analysis of age, deprivation, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation


People, Culture and Heritage in Scotland (January 2015) A more detailed of the culture data from the 2013 Scottish Household Survey. Covers cultural attendance and participation by age, deprivation, disability, ethnicity, gender, and religion

Cultural Consumption in Scotland (February 2011) Further analysis of the Scottish Household Survey, exploring different 'types' of cultural consumers and the influences on such consumption. Findings are broken down by age, deprivation and gender.

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Age Evidence Review (2013) A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to age equality.



Scottish Government Survey Data

Scottish Household Survey - The Scottish Government website provides further information on accessing Scottish Household Survey data

UK Data Archive - Scottish Household Survey microdata is available (through a ‘special licence’ scheme) from the UK Data Archive

Official Statistics

statistics.gov.scot - Explore, visualise and download over 200 datasets from a range of producers. Start browsing by theme, organisation, or geography. Or access programmatically using our APIs. A range of datasets are available that can be broken down by age group


External Links

External Links

Please note that you will leave the Scottish Government web site by clicking on any of the following links, and that the Scottish Government and its staff are not responsible for content external to this web site. The research below has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers

External Publications and Outputs

Taking Part focus on: social media (DCMS, April 2016) A Department for Culture, Media and Sport report looking at people in England who use social media and their demographic characteristics. Includes data by age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability.






Culture Analysis

Office of the Chief Statistician and Strategic Analysis


St Andrew's House

Edinburgh EH1 3DG